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Fox: McCain gets heated when reporter asks about Kerry Veep offer
David Edwards and Nick Juliano
Published: Friday March 7, 2008

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John McCain is known for his willingness to engage reporters on all matter of issues, so some scribes on his campaign plane were taken aback Friday when the Republican presidential candidate appeared to lose his cool when talking to a New York Times correspondent.

Elisabeth Bumiller asked McCain about a meeting he had with then-presidential candidate John Kerry in 2004 about becoming the Democrat's running mate. McCain had just mentioned to a town hall meeting in Atlanta that he and Kerry "had that conversation," but he turned down the offer to share the ticket.

Bumiller noted that McCain denied speaking to Kerry at the time, citing a May 2004 Times article. The candidate appeared to grow agitated, although he never raised his voice. Fox News broadcast video of the exchange.

"Everybody knows that I had a private conversation. ... Thereís no living American in Washington" who doesn't know, McCain said.

Although there were widespread reports about Kerry's campaign reaching out to McCain to join his ticket in 2004, some reporters thought his acknowledgment of a direct conversation between the two was news, a Fox producer who was on the plane said.

It appears Bumiller was asking about this Times article from May 15, 2004:

Asked if Senator Kerry had made such an offer, Mr. McCain said no without hesitation. But asked if the two men had ever discussed it, even casually, he paused for a moment.

"No," he said finally. "We really haven't."

This video is from Fox's America's Pulse , broadcast March 7, 2008.

ABC News produced this transcript of McCain and Bumiller's exchange:

New York Times correspondent Elisabeth Bumiller: Senator can I ask you about Senator Kerry. I just went back and looked at our story, the Times story, and you told Sheryl Stolberg that you had never had a conversation with Kerry about being, about Vice President Ė

John McCain: Everybody knows that I had a private conversation. Everybody knows that. That I had a conversation. Thereís no living American in Washington -

EB: Okay.

McCain: - that knows that, thereís no one.

EB: Okay

McCain: And you know it too. You know it. You know it. So I donít even know why you ask.

EB: Well I ask because I just read Ė-

McCain: You do know it. You do know it.

EB: Because I just read in the Times in May of í04 you said.

McCain: I donít know what you may have read or heard of, I donít know the circumstances. Maybe in May of 04 I hadnít had the conversation --

EB: But do you recall the conversation?

McCain: I donít know, but itís well known that I had the conversation. It is absolutely well known by everyone. So do you have a question on another issue?

EB: Well can I ask you when the conversation was?

McCain: No. Nope, because the issue is closed as far as Iím concerned. Everybody knows it. Everybody knows it in America.

EB: Can you describe the conversation?

McCain: Pardon me.

EB: Can you describe the conversation?

McCain: No, of course not. I donít describe private conversations.

EB: Okay. Can I ask you Ė

McCain: Why should I? Then thereís no such thing as a private conversation. Is there (inaudible) if you have a private conversation with someone, and then they come and tell you. I donít know that thatís a private conversation. I think thatís a public conversation.

EB. Okay. Can I ask you about your (pause) Why youíre so angry?

McCain: Pardon me?

EB: Nevermind, nevermind.

McCain: I mean itís well known. Everybody knows. Itís been well chronicled a thousand times. John Kerry asked if I would consider being his running mate.

EB: Right.

McCain: And I said categorically no, under no circumstances. Thatís all very well known.

EB: Okay, let me ask youÖ (moves on to another question.)